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Desperate Struggle to Recover; Desperation on New York City's Staten Island; Obama in Las Vegas

Aired November 1, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, getting the water out of a hard-hit town on the New Jersey shore. It's just the first step in what will be a massive, massive battle to recover. We're taking you behind the scenes this hour.

We'll also show you the extraordinary lines at gas stations, some stretching for miles, as police step in to settle disputes. It's getting ugly out there.

And as the death toll climbs, we'll hear from people who will tell us about the loved ones they've lost in this ongoing catastrophe.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


The Northeast is struggling desperately right now to recover from super storm Sandy. Many people are still trapped by flood waters, stranded by blackouts or huddled in shelters. The death toll continues to rise. The storm has claimed at least 88 lives in the United States, 157 overall.

We'll bring you some of the victims' stories, including the latest heartbreaking confirmed deaths -- two boys ripped from their mothers' arms by flood waters.

The full scope of the damage is still almost beyond coun -- comprehension. And at this point, close to five million customers are still without power.

Some of the towns along New Jersey's battered barrier islands may never be the same. Homes, businesses, boardwalks -- they are damaged or destroyed, vanished, in many cases.

But in the hard-hit town of Belmar, the first steps are being taken in what will be a long, hard road to recovery.

Here's CNN's Jim Clancy. JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, like so many of New Jersey's tiny coastal communities, the city of Belmar was hard-hit, as you can see, by Hurricane Sandy. But it is trying to rebuild. Perhaps its most prominent feature was always a boardwalk that ran along there. It was completely removed by the forces of Sandy that took away all of the sand and ripped the boardwalk up.

You can see now what's left of it is being cleared away as they try to rebuild. And rebuild is exactly what they have in mind today.

We talked a little bit earlier with Mayor Matt Dougherty and this is what he had to say about the determination to get the job done.


MAYOR MATT DOHERTY, BELMAR, NEW JERSEY: We want to be very aggressive in this cleanup operation after Hurricane Sandy. We have numerous pumps going at the same time, getting the water out of our community and back into the Atlantic.

President Obama and Governor Chris Christie have been outstanding in their statements, and even Governor Christie coming here to meet with me, telling me, "Matt, just get it done. Do what you need to do to clean it up."


CLANCY: Case and point, some of the pumps operating down here to drain out the city. It's literally a bowl. The seawater got in. It has no way of getting out. They're going to have to pump it out.

So they're doing just that, bringing in big pumps, the ones that were used after Hurricane Katrina, to suck out some 700,000 gallons every hour, up to two million gallons an hour in the case of some of the larger pumps that are expected to come in a little bit later today -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Jim.

Thank you.

Jim Clancy on the scene for us.

The New York City Borough of Staten Island was devastated by this super storm. The death toll there has continued to climb and residents are getting desperate. They're saying they need a lot more help.

Brian Todd is on the scene for us there.

He's been getting a firsthand look at their plight.

He's joining us now live from Staten Island -- Brian, what's going on, as far as you can tell?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, devastation here. And they have not gotten much help yet.

I'm going to show you a scene down Cedar Grove Avenue here. Check out this flooding behind me -- people just barely able to get to their homes and kind of assess damage and clear out wreckage. I can see some people on their front stoop over there, tossing some stuff out. Some vehicles trying to move through several feet of water here.

You've got a flooded out church over to my right, to your left here. And just incredible scenes like this all over this neighborhood. This is the New Dorp Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, New York.

Right now, what we're getting word of is that the bodies of two young boys who were swept away from their mother during the storm -- they were missing for a couple of days. Unfortunately, their bodies were discovered a short time ago today, in in a marsh not too far from here. That means the death toll here is now over a dozen people -- well over a dozen people. Exact numbers, I don't have right now, but well over a dozen people just in Staten Island. Hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed.

Just a short time ago, I talked to a resident who lives just a few feet away from here named Rudy Minor (ph). He took me around his yard.


RUDY MINOR, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: When the storm surge started to occur, some of the water coming up carried these containers that were across the street in the church parking lot.

TODD: They were all the way over there by those green fences?

MINOR: Yes, by the green fences. One of them came into my neighbor's yard here, as you see, and knocked down his -- his terrace. Another one came through my front fence here, bounced off a couple of trees and hit my -- my wall and my house.

TODD: Can you show us some of the damage over here?

MINOR: Sure.

The damage on the house?

TODD: Yes, please.

MINOR: All right. Well, the -- one wall is completely gone. The other one is just barely standing up. Just the center con -- the center beam is holding up the second floor of the house right now.

TODD: Were you in here when it happened?

MINOR: No, I had left just as the surge started. I saw what was happening and I decided to gather my things and go.

TODD: Can you recover anything in this house, do you think? MINOR: Not really. There's not really anything. You know, the furniture's all water-logged and stuff. It's -- everything else is damaged. So between the water damage and what's gone -- there's actually things that are gone, everything is gone.


TODD: And Rudy Minor says he's got flood insurance, he's got homeowners' insurance. He's waiting to hear if he's going to -- just how much of his de -- his damage is going to be covered by that. But another homeowner here told me she didn't have flood insurance. She tried to get it a couple of years ago and she could not, Wolf.

So just -- you know, just scenes of devastation and people trying to pick up, trying to get whatever financial help they can after this.

BLITZER: Are you getting, Brian, any answers from officials over there on Staten Island where you are on why it's taking so long to get help to the people on Staten Island?

TODD: Well, you know, you're getting some confusing information. We -- we spoke to the borough president today. He was complaining that relief agencies had not been here for close to three days, or at least two, at minimum.

We are now told that the Red Cross has a presence here, that a state relief agency has come here and that FEMA is on the ground here.

But the borough president was complaining about that in an interview with me earlier today.

Take a listen.


TODD: What is -- what is the most drastic situation here right now?

JAMES MOLINARO, STATEN ISLAND BOROUGH PRESIDENT: The mastic -- the most drastic situation here are people that have no place to -- when they leave the shelter to go to. And they have nobody to speak to, to find out how they can be helped, where they can be -- and where they can be sheltered for the next two or three weeks, if they don't have relatives to go to.

How do they get their food?

How do they get their kids to school?

How do they get their kids (INAUDIBLE) for the children?

TODD: Relief agencies have not been here yet?

MOLINARO: No, not to my knowledge. Not of any significant around.

TODD: We just got word that some Red Cross trucks are coming.

Is it enough and is it...

MOLINARO: Yes, it's...

TODD: -- fast enough?

MOLINARO: -- it's enough.

Why should I have to be hollering for three days for the Red Cross -- the Red Cross trucks?

They should be there the day after the disaster. They should be there while the disaster is going on.

They should be in our shelters.

TODD: What happened to the families in the hardest hit areas?

How did they -- just how did they get hit by this?

MOLINARO: How did they get hit by it?

TODD: Yes, I mean (INAUDIBLE)...

MOLINARO: We're fortunate that a lot of those families have friends. Those -- those parents and those families that both have -- they got hit with, some of them have friends. So they're -- they're coping with that.

Plus the fact, there's no electricity on Staten Island. We were blockade. We were out of contact with the other boroughs and Jersey for three solid days. You couldn't get a car or a truck across. So we've got no gas, we've got no food.


TODD: And just to clarify that now we are told that some city relief agencies, state agencies, FEMA and the Red Cross do have a presence now on Staten Island. But it was, apparently, a tough time coming.

And, you know, not to place too much blame on -- on them, the travel situation around Staten Island right now is very, very difficult, Wolf. Roads are cut off. Roads are flooded out. Some roads are blocked. Some are impassable. There is traffic snarl all over Staten Island just because people are out either trying to get out, trying to come back in and assess damage. There are huge lines for gas.

And so the travel situation around Staten Island is very, very difficult. That could be a key reason why some of the relief agencies haven't gotten here. And we just do have an updated word, 19 total dead on Staten Island -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The president, Brian, is now speaking about the aftermath of Sandy.

He's in Las Vegas.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not forget them. We are going to make sure they get everything they need. We're going to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy.


OBAMA: We've got military transport getting equipment in to get the power back on. We've got food and water and medical supplies that we're shipping in. And we're not going to stop, because what we understand is, is that this could happen to any of us.



OBAMA: And that's why, even in the midst of tragedy, the situation on the East Coast has also inspired, because it reminds us that when disaster strikes, we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times somehow melt away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, just fellow Americans.


OBAMA: Leaders of different parties working to fix what's broken. Neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy. Communities rallying to rebuild. A spirit that says, in the end, we're all in this together, that we rise or fall as one nation.


OBAMA: That's what we have seen on display over these last few days. That is the spirit that we need going forward. That spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries. It's carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years.

In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Today, our businesses have created over five million new jobs.


OBAMA: The American auto industry is back on top.


OBAMA: American manufacturing is growing faster than any time in the last 15 years.


OBAMA: We're less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years.


OBAMA: Home values are on the rise.


OBAMA: Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over.


OBAMA: The war in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Al Qaeda has been decimated. All...


OBAMA: -- Osama bin Laden is dead.


OBAMA: So we've made real progress these past four years.


OBAMA: But, Nevada, we know our work is not yet done. We know our work is not yet...

BLITZER: All right, so the president making his transition from speaking about the aftermath of super storm Sandy. He's now in his stump speech. He's making the case for his reelection. And pretty soon, you'll be hearing some of the words that he has for Mitt Romney himself.

We'll continue to monitor this speech in Las Vegas.

Candy Crowley is standing by.

We're going to be speaking with her about a major endorsement that the president received today.

Also, a lot more coming up on the devastation from Sandy. We'll go back to Staten Island. We'll be in New Jersey, out on Long Island. Lots happening today. The anger is developing because help is not getting there fast enough.


BLITZER: We'll get back to the devastation from the super storm, Sandy, in just a few moments, but I want to bring in our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, the anchor of CNN's "State of the Union" right now. He took off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the president, rightfully to deal with Sandy.

Now, as we just saw, he's back out there on the campaign trail. The transition with five days to go, I think that's understandable as well. He's trying desperately to make sure he gets re-elected.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You have to get out there and campaign. It's interesting where he's campaigning. This clearly is a road map to where they think the battle is. Same with Mitt Romney. We saw him kind of tone down the rhetoric. He canceled some events, but now, they're back at it.

Now, I think you're always going to hear the caveated speech which begins with, you know, our fellow Americans are suffering, we're doing everything we can, but they've incorporated that into what is essentially their closing arguments.

BLITZER: He did get an endorsement today from the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the president of the United States. Among other things, Bloomberg wrote this. He said, "If the 1994 or the 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be in a word disappointed."

He sort of -- he did praise the president for his position on climate, on global warming, and all of that, but he says he doesn't like the flip-flopping that Mitt Romney has. He liked these positions of years ago, not necessarily now.

CROWLEY: Exactly. But it also -- I mean, look, we're talking about the mayor of New York. Yes, he's an independent, but he is pro- same sex marriage. He is pro-choice on the abortion issue. He is A pro-gun control, pro-not having big drinks. This sounds like a man who is more on the Democratic corner than the Republican corner. I don't think this is a huge surprise given the things that the mayor espouses that he is four.

And he says in the final part of the column, I want a man who is, you know, who will support a woman's right to choose. I want a man who is on the right side of history when it comes to same sex marriage. I mean, all these things with which he agrees with President Obama. So, I think on that score this is not a huge surprise.

BLITZER: Yes. I wasn't hugely surprised. A little surprised because he gave that interview to the Atlantic magazine only a few weeks ago in which he said about Obama's foreign policy. He said there's no Obama doctrine that I know of. I don't know that anybody has enunciated a world view the way that Henry Kissinger did in his day or George Shulz or even James Baker.

I mean, there's no great love there for the president of the United States, but clearly, he has endorsed him.

CROWLEY: Yes. And also, that he focused on climate change I thought was really interesting.


CROWLEY: But obviously, it comes after this huge storm and there's a big fight going on right now. And the scientists are out there saying, listen, this is climate change, these sort of huge storms we haven't seen the likes of before. This is the result of climate change. And this is clearly a mayor who believes that his city was hard hit as a result of climate change.

And so, you know, again, not surprising the timing is sort of interesting to me, but it does fit in with what's been going on in New York and that he spent so much time talking about climate change. And that was what he was actually criticizing Mitt Romney for was Romney's -- what he sees as Romney's flip-flop on things like carbon emissions, et cetera.

BLITZER: Bloomberg is going to vote for a president who will lead on climate change. Obviously, critically important issue for him. Candy, thanks very much.

Hundreds of storm victims from New Jersey's devastated coast, they are waiting in line for a first look at what if anything is left of their homes. Up next, we are there for the emotional return. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we have to teach innovation. I just think you have to coax people out of their fear of trying to innovate. Everybody has creative abilities. But people just don't express them. I mean, I see people come in here that are afraid to try anything.

You give them some classes and some encouragement and they have some success with their products and you see them just change, you see them light up. You see them say, wow, I really can do this. This is stunning. They're stunned.



BLITZER: Hundreds of storm victims are getting a first look right now at what if anything is left of their homes near New Jersey's devastated barrier islands. They waited in line to be allowed back. And Mike Galanos from our sister network, HLN, was there for the emotional -- very emotional return. Mike, you've spent the day with these storm victims. Tell us about that experience.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN: You know, when we drove up, Wolf, the line was forming. And by the time it wrapped up, it was 200 to 300 people lined up. People were sharing coffee and stories. One woman whose house was not damaged at all, she set up little stand with donuts and hot chocolate trying to make the best of this. It was really a people coming together, Wolf.

But when it was time to go in, and authorities let them in, then it was each family, each person, left alone with what they were about to see. We had a chance to go in with Christina and B.J., a mother and a son. You know, when I stood with the mom, Christina, right before we went in the house, they let us go in with them, and she just took that deep breath and looked at me and just like, Mike, I don't know if I want to go in.

So, we opened the door. We had to help them push open the door. Wolf, I mean, we're talking water four and a half feet high in that house. You could see the water line with the debris and that that water basically must have went in the house, shuffled furniture, knocked over a refrigerator and just left this family's home and life in a shambles.

And I talked to Christina. She tried to keep up a strong veneer up, but at one point, emotions just got the best of her. Let's watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cried last night. I cried myself, you know, to sleep, because I know, I knew, I knew it was going to look like this. When I knew that the water was four or five feet high, I mean, I know my house, you know, what's in my house. And I was here for the storm in 1991. So, I saw the damage that that did and that was only two and a half feet.

So, when I knew that it was four to five feet, I knew. I knew I would have nothing. But I have -- I'm a single mom. His dad is non- existent. So, he's all I have. So, that's, I guess, where my strength comes from. I have to be strong for him. You know, what are you going to do? This is his first time experiencing anything like this. Mine, too.


GALANOS: It's hard to listen to that again, Wolf, as we ended up, myself, Tony, our camera man, we helped them lift that refrigerator up. Let me leave you with just -- this woman, you saw the tears. She was quick to laugh and smile. There was one little Philadelphia Eagles gadget they had in the house and it just wouldn't stop running. It wouldn't shut up, basically.

And that was getting to her. And then, she finally just grabbed it and she goes you guys are never going to win a Super Bowl anyway, and we all laughed. So, in the midst of those tears, she still had a moment there where she could smile and make everyone of us laugh.

BLITZER: You know, the emotion we're hearing from all of these victims, their stories, it is so, so moving. In the end though, they do have their family. They have their health. Mike, how are they coping, though, losing all of their possessions, basically, their photos, their history, all of that stuff in those homes that have been destroyed?

GALANOS: Wolf, you just nailed it with the photos. That was one of the first things as we walked in to that house, that's what B.J. and Christina were asking each other. Where's the picture of me? Do you have any of my baby photos left? Any old sports memorabilia? Things that really mattered to them, especially the family photos.

There were only three pictures left of B.J., Christina's son. And they were on the top of that refrigerator, one of those refrigerator magnet was him as a baby, maybe he's eight-year-old, maybe he's a 10-year-old, and that was it. And you could tell, those were the wounds that really run deep, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Sad, sad story no matter how you slice it, obviously. Mike Galanos on the scene for us, thanks for that report. Very moving stuff.

A CNN iReporter who survived a devastating tsunami says the destruction on New York's Staten Island bears eerie similarities. He'll join us live next.


BLITZER: He survived the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami which ravaged the island nation of Sri Lanka back in 2004. And now he's living on New York's Staten Island. CNN iReporter Roshen Weliwatta says there are some eerie similarities.

Roshen is joining us on the phone right now.

And you sent us some amazing pictures, Roshen. Walk us through what you saw and what you -- what you felt.

ROSHEN WELIWATTA, CNN IREPORTER: Hi, Wolf. It was very sad. Heartbreaking to see what happened there at South Beach in Staten Island because so many houses was washed away and so many cars. Thousands of cars had piled up. And it was -- it's very hard to see. And hope -- to think that so many people might have been trapped in the houses because nobody expected the tsunami to go -- the high tide to go that inland.

If -- I don't know if you can show this on TV like if you saw -- Highland Boulevard is about half a mile from South Beach. And nobody expected the water to go that far. So people in that area didn't even leave. And I had a friend who woke up when the water came running into their house. And that is probably why so many people died in that area because nobody expected the water to go that far.

And I have to agree with the borough president because I went the day after the hurricane. I went there yesterday. I didn't see any government agency. I saw NYPD, but I didn't see anyone else.

It was very sad. But it was -- I have no words to explain. It's very sad the damage that it caused. And the biggest reason why I wanted to show this on CNN was because at the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was the first one there to show it to the world and bring us aid. And I thought that way we can get Staten Island on the news and get some aid toward Staten Island who need it.

BLITZER: Roshen, what was -- there were some eerie similarities, you say, between what you experienced on Staten Island as a result of Sandy and what you experienced from the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Give us some comparison.

WELIWATTA: Comparison-wise the magnitude of the tsunami I have to say is much bigger because what I see in Staten Island is what -- the damage is within, let's say, 10 to 20 -- 10 to 15 miles apart. But in Sri Lanka the damage was 200 to 300 miles and the death toll was about 30,000. The houses were completely washed away. And what I think what saved more lives was, like, technological advancements. Like, you know, you have your smartphone on you and they tell you every second what's going to happen, please evacuate.

But in those countries, people are still, say, starting to use technology like smartphones. And we don't have the tsunami warning systems. That's why we lost so many lives. And technology saved us. But on the contrary, we have such big -- such good technology in New York City, but they took so long to respond.

If I'm right, today's the day all the government agencies, Red Cross, FEMA is getting there. It's been three days. So I don't know why it took so long.

BLITZER: Well, let's hope they get the job done, Roshen. Thanks for sharing your pictures, your video, your own personal experience. And it's good to keep it in perspective, the tsunami in Sri Lanka and what has happened on Staten Island over the past few days.

I know you're a student at Columbia University. Good luck with your education.

WELIWATTA: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Sandy is barely a history. But now there are signs another major northeast storm could also be on the way. Chad Myers is standing by. He's tracking the latest forecast.


BLITZER: Our sister publication "TIME" magazine is revealing some chilling new images captured in the moments both before and during Sandy's brutal assault on the east coast. It's all part of a special new issue.

This is the cover for readers in the northeast entitled, "Lessons from the Storm." The managing editor of "TIME" magazine, Rick Stengel, is joining us now to talk about these photos.

Rick, thanks very much. Let's start with this image and I'll put it up on the screen. I want to show it to our viewers. It's an image very similar to the cover. It's a man standing in the surf near Coney Island in New York, in Brooklyn. Why did you choose this photo?

RICK STENGEL, "TIME" MANAGING EDITOR: Well, that's a very -- that's a very, very striking image, Wolf. It shows the beginning of the power of the storm before it became devastating. You know, and it also shows the fact that, you know, individuals were risking their lives in a full hardy way, I would say, at the early point of the storm before people realized its full deadly power.

BLITZER: Yes. People don't really appreciate what's in store for them. All right. We have another picture. I'll put it up right now. This is an area that was devastated called Breezy Point in Queens in New York City. Over 100 homes were destroyed by fire. This woman's face really tells the whole story. Talk a little bit about this photo.

STENGEL: Yes. That's by a photographer Benjamin Lowi. And as you know, Wolf, all of these pictures were posted on our feed on Instagram. And again, it shows a woman who is devastated by the loss of her home. As you know, many of these homes were in fact homes of first responders, firemen and policemen. And the fire, of course, was exacerbated by the storm.

BLITZER: There are two pictures that you posted also from Connecticut. We spent a lot of time talking about New Jersey and New York. But Connecticut was also hard-hit. This man in Wilton, Connecticut, sitting in his destroyed barn. And the storm surge heading right toward a house in Milford, Connecticut. Talk a little about both of these pictures.

STENGEL: Yes. These are by a photographer named Steven Wilkes. And, you know, the eye of the storm, the ground zero for the storm, was the New Jersey shore, but it ravaged obviously parts of the New York shore and Connecticut as well. And that picture that you see now I think is one of those pictures that shows that strange, eerie confluence between something manmade and something natural coming up against each other, which was actually the theme of the whole storm.

BLITZER: Yes. It's a really amazing and powerful storm, the powerful surge that's just coming in there.

The cover story also deals with the whole issue of climate change. Explain what's going on here from your perspective.

STENGEL: Wolf, the storm was tragic. It had tragic consequences. Obviously it's affected hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. But the story differentiates between what was due to Mother Nature and problems that are manmade. And Brian Walsh who wrote the story talks about a number of them. The fact that over the last 15 or 20 years we have built up the coastlines in a way that is probably irresponsible given the fact that -- the second point that due to climate change the oceans have risen, the air temperature is warmer, all of which makes storms like this more likely.

You know, Andrew Cuomo said, you know, quite eloquently yesterday, what we've seen in the last few years is once a hundred year events are actually occurring every few years. And so our story makes the point that we actually have to change the way we live to accommodate these new events.

We can't build in the same places that we have always built. What we've seen in New York as you see, you know, 50-year, 100-year- old transportation infrastructure which is still not back up. We have our electric grid, which is, again, also in the last century. So there are so many parts of America where our infrastructure is way, way behind the times.

BLITZER: The article "Lessons from the Storm." It's the cover for "TIME" magazine readers in the northeast. You have separate covers for people elsewhere in the country on the upcoming election.

Rick Stengel, joining us as he does every week. Thanks very much.

STENGEL: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Long lines for gasoline, some desperate people are waiting for hours. We're on the scene of this organized chaos.


BLITZER: Take a look at this extraordinary time lapse video showing the superstorm Sandy as it slammed into New York City. Look at this. You're going to see the sky grow dark, the lights go on over the city, the lights go out, though, over lower Manhattan which is still, even as we speak right now, suffering from widespread power failure.

Look at the difference between lower Manhattan and midtown and the rest of Manhattan. Wow.

People are lining up for miles and they are waiting for hours for very scarce supplies of gasoline. And it's happening in many places devastated by Sandy.

Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti got a firsthand look.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): How long did it take you to get to the front of the line to fill up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since 10:30 this morning.

CANDIOTTI: 10:30 this morning and it has been, what, 10:30 --


CANDIOTTI: Four hours.


CANDIOTTI: This is for your car or what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is for my car.

CANDIOTTI: You decided to bring your grocery cart.


CANDIOTTI: And a bag.


CANDIOTTI: And you put the gas can inside the bag. I can guess why, but tell me why? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two reasons. A, I figure it might be too heavy to carry and then B, a lot of -- it's become a hot commodity, so I didn't want to risk it.

CANDIOTTI: And all the other customers came by car. Let's see how long some of them have been waiting to get to this point.

Hi, I'm with CNN.


CANDIOTTI: How long to get to the front of the line?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three hours. A lot of patience and a lot of sanity.

CANDIOTTI: So this is where the line starts. I've got to see it for myself. How long does it go? At this point it's 14 blocks at least. The gas station is way down in that direction. And all you see behind me taillight, taillight, taillight, as people wait and wait and wait to see if there is gas at the end of the line.

And what do you do for a living?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work for the "New York Times."

CANDIOTTI: Delivering newspapers. So you've been waiting in line for how long? And how long do you think it'll take?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would wait in line forever to get to my job so I can get the newspaper out tomorrow.

CANDIOTTI: And now it's 15 blocks, 16 blocks, 17 blocks. There appears to be no end in sight. Those cars are going at least a mile back. What do you make of the whole thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what are we going to do about it? We can't do nothing about it.


BLITZER: That report from Susan Candiotti. That gas station, by the way, they ran out of gas they -- gas at that gas station. But we're told Susan tells us they're getting more apparently right now. Let's hope for the best.

With millions of people suffering in the wake of Sandy, there are some ominous signs that could signal much more misery ahead, if you can believe it. Let's bring in our severe weather expert, Chad Myers, our meteorologist.

Chad, another storm? What's going on here? May be in the works?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It certainly could be. It's still six days out. And that's way far -- way too far to make any accurate predictions. But let me show you what's setting up and where the potential is going to be for the next few days. We have cold air in the east because the jet stream has turned to the south here. That allows all of the cold air to come down from Canada and from up north. That allows very warm air back out here.

Now what happens if this setup continues like we expect it to if a low pressure comes over the top of this ridge, it can come down here and end up as a nor'easter. That's how they work in the middle of the winter.

Nor'easters this time of year don't usually make a lot of snow because the air isn't that cold. But we saw what already happened in West Virginia where there was 36 to 40 inches of snow in some spots. So here's how it looks. We've shown you the models about the hurricane. This is not a hurricane, but the models still work. We go to Monday where it's raining Tuesday, raining in Florida for the election.

And then finally on Wednesday may be making some landfall something, not a hurricane, but a wind event, maybe a rain event, for the northeast. They don't need anything else here. Houses are torn up. I mean, most of them are open at some point in time. Either roof has gone or sides gone or doors are gone, or winds are gone -- windows are gone. And so anything like this would certainly be an unwelcomed visitor.

We're already going to see -- we already know this is going to happen. Temperatures are going to be in the 30s in the overnight hours. And that's cold for a house that doesn't have power. If you have gas, nat-gas, that's great. But if you don't have power, the furnace isn't going to turn on because the fan won't turn on, and you're not going to have heat.

So what people are going to do? They're going to try to stay warm somehow. And we lose people with this, Wolf. We lose people with carbon monoxide poisoning when we take this -- the furnace or, say, a range, and you open the oven and you turn the oven on, and you try to warm the house.

Carbon monoxide is entering the house when you do that. You have to be careful. You cannot use your gas stove to heat the house. You have to find something else or find some place warm or try to use the hot water heater. The hot water in the hot water heater will warm up at least your hands or maybe fill up a Ziploc bag with hot water. At least the water heater is vented. That, if you have a gas pilot water heater, the gas water heater will heat the gas and the carbon monoxide will go up the chimney. As usual very dangerous, though. This is what still five million people without power or close. It's going to get cold.

BLITZER: Yes. I want you to watch this tape. We're just getting this tape, Chad. This is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie touring Moonachie, comforting residents there. Let's watch it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for coming. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We're here for you.


CHRISTIE: How are you? I told them yesterday that, you know, there is no -- there are no medals given out for the first days.


CHRISTIE: You know, you did the right thing. You're back and you're safe. We have people alive and now it's about the next stage. That's what we have to do next.


CHRISTIE: So -- you know, all my guys are tired. They'll get three hours sleep and come back. Time to get to work. So if I can do it, they can do it.



BLITZER: New Jersey governor in Moonachie, Chris Christie talking to residents there this 24 hours after he spent the day with the president yesterday in New Jersey.

Heartbreaking stories of lives lost in Sandy's wake. Up next, we're putting names and faces with the dozens of people here in the United States who were killed in this storm.


BLITZER: Let's take a look at some of the powerful photos coming in from the east coast. In Hazlet Township, New Jersey, a gas station -- look at this, a gas station attendant sits in front of a pump as he fills can after can with gasoline.

In Brooklyn, New York, thousands of people stand in line for buses into Manhattan. Many commuter rails are still out of service from this superstorm Sandy.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, Duracell employees hand out batteries to residents and let those without power use charging stations.

And in Jersey City, a girl holds a jerrycan after her mom's power stopped running while waiting in line for gasoline.

We've been hearing endless stories of destruction in the days since Sandy struck but only now are we beginning to put names and faces with those who lost their lives in this storm and the heart- wrenching stories that go with them.

Lisa Sylvester is joining us. She has details -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here are the numbers. Eighty-eight dead from Sandy. But behind each one of those numbers is someone's story. Someone who lost their life that day and they ranged in ages from 2 years old to 90 years old.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Matthew Stahl's pastor says the 8-year- old was going as Iron Man for Halloween. But Matthew never got that chance. He died Monday outside his home. Matthew ran out to check on calves the family was raising on their farm, and that's when a tree limb fell on him.

Bob Kadlecik is the family's pastor.

PASTOR BOB KADLECIK, BRIDGEWATER BAPTIST CHURCH: It wasn't even raining and he had just run out and I saw the tree, it was only the part of the tree that fell was maybe eight inches in diameter?

SYLVESTER: Matthew wrote this note just about two weeks ago to Pastor Bob. "Thank you for being a pastor. You are very nice to me and Ryan." Then Matthew asked if the pastor's son, Ryan, could come over to play. The two were good buddies.

(On camera): How did your son take the news because you had to tell him, right?

KADLECIK: Yes. I was on the phone and my wife almost fell. She told him and later that night as I tucked Ryan in bed, he asked me, did Matthew -- is Matthew in heaven?

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Superstorm Sandy, the water has receded, but she left behind a trail of broken hearts. In Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Connecticut.

Lauren Abraham, 24 years old, a makeup artist. She died after stepping on a live electrical wire in Queens, New York. Jesse Streich-Kestand Jacob Vogelman were killed in Brooklyn while walking their dog. They were hit by a falling tree. A large tree also fell on Richard and Elizabeth Everett's pickup truck. They both died but their children, 11 and 14, also in the truck, survived.

Bill Sword, Jr., 61 years old, a long-time Princeton, New Jersey, resident, a tree fell on the house. He went to assess the damage and that's when another tree fell on top of him.

SARAH LAZARUS, FRIEND: He was a guy who always put the other fellow first. It was always, what can I do for you, not how can you help me.

SYLVESTER: And the storm didn't discriminate. Easton, Connecticut, volunteer firefighter Russ Neary died in the line of duty while trying to remove a tree blocking a roadway. He leaves behind a wife of 21 years and two children.

CASEY MESKERS, EATON VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT: We're a small fire department. We're a brotherhood. We work so closely and he was, you know, one of our closest friends and all are just incredibly saddened by the loss of Russ.

SYLVESTER: Among the worst hit areas was Staten Island, New York. At least 19 people killed there, including the heartbreaking story of a 2-year-old and 4-year-old, both boys, ripped from their mother's arm after their SUV became trapped in flood waters.


SYLVESTER: And that is just the small sampling of the stories. There is a memorial fund that has been set up for 8-year-old Matthew Stall for burial expenses. That's the Matthew Walter Stahl Memorial Fund, Care of the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County in Montrose, Pennsylvania.

And for more ways to help, our viewers can visit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I hope they do, Lisa, thank you.

And happening now, frustration turning to anger on Staten Island. Storm victims there say they're having to fend for themselves amid unbelievable destruction.

Also, almost five million people in the disaster zone are still without power. Temperatures are about to plunge.

And the presidential campaign resumes with the candidates back on the campaign trail and back on the attack just five days before the election.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.